Toyota settles recall case with 29 states
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor North America has settled its outstanding cases with attorneys general in 29 states and one U.S. territory regarding allegations of foot-dragging in its safety recall process from 2005 to 2010.
As part of the settlement, in which Toyota admits no liability or wrongdoing, the company will pay $29 million to be divided among the states and American Samoa.
The deal effectively closes the matter as it pertains to states; no others have claims remaining against Toyota regarding recall actions. But private parties still can sue the company.
The state attorneys general had targeted Toyota for an alleged lack of transparency in its recall process regarding tens of millions of vehicles over the five-year period, including the period when incidents of alleged unintended acceleration were reported in connection with Toyota vehicles.
In December, Toyota set aside $1.1 billion to cover recall-related suits by individuals and government entities. The $29 million settlement will be paid from those funds, Toyota said.
Since the suits were filed, Toyota has taken several steps, such as making owners manuals available online and allowing customers to enter their vehicle identification numbers into an online database to check for recalls and safety bulletins. Toyota also will continue its use of "rapid response" service teams to monitor product quality issues in the field.
The settlement, filed in Superior Court in Mercer County in New Jersey, also bars Toyota from using terms related to "safety" in advertising unless backed by scientific study.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a statement: "This is an important settlement, not only because of the dollars, but because the terms are designed to help make Toyota more accountable, responsive and vigilant regarding vehicle safety issues."
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